MALACCA: Penang had celebrated the Chinese New Year by lifting the Charity Shield last Sunday. Yesterday, it was Malacca who ended the festive season with a delightful 1-0 Chap Goh Mei day win over the islanders in a Premier I match at the Stadium Hang Tuah here.
With many local fans staying away to catch the English FA Cup action between Manchester United and Arsenal on television, only a token 1,800 crowd was on hand to witness second half substitute Mohamed Suffian Samsubari netting an 86th minute winner for the home team.
The game began with both sides opting for offensive moves. It was Penang who had the first good look at goal in the third minute. Off a corner and coupled with some poor defending, Hasmawi Hassan rifled a rising shot which skimmed the Malacca bar.
The Kancils, led in attack by Golden Boot winner Norizam Ali Hassan did manage to put Penang's defence on alert twice in the ninth and 12th minutes but Australian Geoff Dwyer was always on hand to foil Malacca.
Pint sized Ng Kok Heng and wily S. Gopinath almost punished a slacked Malacca defence in the 15th and 17th minutes respectively.
First, Kok Heng jinked down the left but his cheeky lob grazed the bar. Then, Gopinath had the local defence in sixes and sevens but his grounder hit the outside of the left upright.
In the 21st minute, Dwyer, moving up for the first time, met a teasing Gopinath free kick with a solid header but Malacca deputy goalkeeper Azizon Abdul Kadir did well to save.
Malacca brought on Halim Jantan and Mohamed Suffian Samsubari in place of Mohamed Arsyah Ayub and Norizam Ali Hassan early in the second half.
Against the run of play, Penang almost snatched a 73rd minute lead. An untidy local defence allowed Hasmawi Hassan to find Gopinath on the edge of the box. His toe poke drifted just off the upright.
With Penang trying to hold out stoutly, Malacca inflicted a cruel blow four minutes from the end. Second-half replacement Samsubari outpaced a jaded Penang defence to beat Kamarulzaman Hassan from close range.
Malacca: Azahar Abdul Aziz, Azmil Azali, Mohamedv Arsyah Ayub (Halim Jantan), Mohd Sofi Isa, Syamsul Hanapiah, Mohd Nafuzi Zain, Rashid Mahmud, Aznan Razak, Norizam Ali Hassan (Mohd Suffian Samsubari), Ahmad Tamani Saiban, Azizon Abdil Kadir
Penang: Kamrulzaman Hassan, Aziz Ismail, Geoff Dwyer, M. Praksah, Wan Rohaimi Wan Ismail, Chee Wan Hoe, Ng Kok Heng, R. Suresh Kumar, S. Gopinath (Zulhisham Kamruddin), Chow Chee Weng, Hasmawi Hassan.